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The methods of assessment used by speech-language therapists for learners with multiple disabilities in schools in Gauteng.

School-based speech-language therapists play a significant role in terms of education and
rehabilitation in the lives of learners with multiple disabilities. Assessment forms a critical
part of a speech-language therapist’s post description and is the cornerstone of any type of
intervention. The assessment of learners with multiple disabilities poses as a great challenge
to speech-language therapists. These challenges include a lack of guidelines, resources,
appropriate standardized tests and the heterogeneity of the group of learners labelled as
multiply disabled. This research project aimed at describing the methods of assessment that
school-based speech-language therapists use when assessing learners with multiple
disabilities. Additionally, these methods were compared to international best practice. The
first phase of the study consisted of compiling a set of guidelines with the purpose of
providing a framework for a proposed set of guidelines for the assessment of learners. These
guidelines were based on the principles as recommended by the literature regarding best
practice. Because a qualitative approach was adopted for this research project, the second
phases consisted of data collection, utilising eight focus groups as well as document reviews.
On average, each focus group consisted of two to four participants. The data was then
analysed thematically and compared to a checklist. The results indicated that speech-language
therapists encountered many obstacles when assessing learners with multiple disabilities. It
was evident that the participating speech-language therapists assessed within a
multidisciplinary team and that they used formal as well as informal methods of assessment
with learners with multiple disabilities. Discrepancies were found between the collected data
and the guidelines. The guidelines were then used to propose a way forward for speechlanguage
therapists when assessing learners with multiple disabilities in schools in Gauteng.
Date19 February 2013
CreatorsParsot, Sima
Source SetsSouth African National ETD Portal
Detected LanguageEnglish

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